Trump then abruptly ended the interview.
“So Steve, thank you very much,” he said. “I appreciate it.”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, I have one more question,” said Inskeep, who began to ask about a court hearing on Monday related to the Capitol riot by a pro-Trump mob last year. He then stopped himself, saying, “He’s gone. OK.”
At the Monday hearing in the US District Court for Washington, lawyers argued that Trump, by inspiring the riot, was liable for major financial damages.
It was not clear how much of the question Trump heard before ending the interview.
Early in the interview, Inskeep asked Trump about the coronavirus pandemic and what the former president would tell people who have not been vaccinated. Trump, who said in December that he had received a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, told Inskeep that he recommended that people take the vaccine but that he did not support vaccine mandates.
Inskeep then asked how useful it was for Republicans to talk about the 2020 election before this year’s midterms, noting that Senator Mike Rounds, a Republican, told ABC (US) over the weekend that the presidential election was not rigged.
“No, I think it’s an advantage, because otherwise they’re going to do it again in ’22 and ’24,” Trump said. “And Rounds is wrong on that, totally wrong.”
Inskeep then raised several instances in which Trump’s allies and election officials disputed his false claims of widespread election fraud. Trump repeated his claim and criticised Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader.
The abrupt end of the interview recalled an episode in October 2020 when Trump, then the president, cut off an interview with 60 Minutes at the White House and then taunted the interviewer, Lesley Stahl, on Twitter. Twitter permanently barred Trump from its site in the aftermath of the Capitol riot, saying it made the decision “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”
According to the transcript, Inskeep started the interview by telling Trump that he had first invited him to talk in 2015. Inskeep also explained that the interview was being prerecorded and that it should take about 15 minutes. “Very good,” Trump responded.
The interview lasted 9 minutes, according to NPR.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.